Posts Tagged “alcohol”

Sake: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries – book review

Sake: The History, Stories and Craft of Japan’s Artisanal Breweries – book review

I was told to expect a book. I was told to expect a big book. I was told to expect a coffee-table book. What I got was a book the size of a coffee table but one which will hold my attention long after the furniture would have lost its purely functional appeal. Sake: The…

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Maribor Slovenia – wines, gastronomy, bikes and hikes – travel review

Maribor Slovenia – wines, gastronomy, bikes and hikes – travel review

Slovenia is a small country in Central Europe. Small it might be but it has natural beauty, with mountains (Slovenia’s highest mountain, the three-peaked Triglav, is part of the national flag), vine-strewn hills, thick forests, historic cities and a 46 km long coast on the Adriatic. It is, in some regards, Europe in microcosm. Slovenia…

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Taruzake Sake – cedar difference – travel review

Taruzake Sake – cedar difference – travel review

Sure, the world of sake is new and mysterious to most of us. Japan’s national beverage is made of few ingredients but there are many styles and each one has its own history and its own character. We are being offered a wider range of sake in Japanese restaurants but it’s a shame that non-Japanese…

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Onikoroshi Honjozo Sake – drinks review

Onikoroshi Honjozo Sake – drinks review

Founded around 1720 in Takayama Hida in Japan, Oita Shuzo brewery has been producing sake ever since. This is a beautiful region with several noteworthy breweries. It comes alive in winter, which is the sake-brewing season in Japan. In the Edo era sweet sake was more highly esteemed than the dry version. Many dry sakes…

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Food Sake Tokyo by Yukari Sakamoto – travel guide review

Food Sake Tokyo by Yukari Sakamoto – travel guide review

Tokyo is a vibrant modern city but tradition is still evident. We might be looking for the latest technology in Akihabara or fashion and pop culture in Takeshitadori; but we all need food and many of us need sake. You’ll find that all around this sprawling town if you know where to look for it….

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Okinawa and Awamori – the spirit of the islands – travel review

Okinawa and Awamori – the spirit of the islands – travel review

Awamori is the celebrated spirit originating in and unique to the Ryukyu Islands (Nansei Islands in Japanese) of Okinawa. It is made from long-grain Thai rice, which historically has been used in this region. The Ryukyu Kingdom was independent and ruled most of these islands from the 15th to the 19th century. The name Okinawa…

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Sake in situ – the overlooked tourist attraction in Japan – travel review

Sake in situ – the overlooked tourist attraction in Japan – travel review

A dream came true for me recently and it was courtesy of the Japanese Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF). That might sound unlikely when one’s dreams are often woven around the acquisition of something small and sparkling, a new 3D TV, or designer shoes. MAFF invited me on my first trip to Japan for…

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Sake – a Japanese History – travel review

Sake – a Japanese History – travel review

We in the West are becoming more familiar with Sake. There are now many more Japanese restaurants in our cities and all of them will have a drinks menu that will include a sake or two. It’s the Japanese national alcoholic beverage and most people already know that it’s made of rice. Yes, it’s called…

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Grapes & Wines by Oz Clarke – review

Grapes & Wines by Oz Clarke – review

First published as Oz Clarke’s Encyclopaedia of Grapes, Oz Clarke’s new Grapes & Wines, with Margaret Rand, is revised and updated to present the wine lover with the best information on a comprehensive selection of grapes and the wines associated with them. Oz Clarke has become a household name. He oft graces our TV screens…

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Lambrusco – another taste – wine review

Lambrusco – another taste – wine review

If you are of a certain age then even the name ‘Lambrusco’ will likely raise a smirk. Once the smirker’s composure has been restored then he/she will probably deny ever having tasted the stuff. One has one’s oenological credibility to consider, after all! Wouldn’t be seen quaffing anything so viticulturally base! Where exactly is Lambrusco,…

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The Sparkle of Vilmart & Cie – travel review

The Sparkle of Vilmart & Cie – travel review

The Champagne house Vilmart & Cie was founded in 1890 by Désiré Vilmart and is considered by many an authority to be perhaps the leading producer of quality Champagne in the region of Northern France which bears the same name as this celebratory beverage. It’s an area of many fine bottles but some consider Vilmart…

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Wine & Spice Series 2015 at Cinnamon Club – restaurant review

Wine & Spice Series 2015 at Cinnamon Club – restaurant review

It’s without doubt one of the best Indian restaurants in London. It’s housed in a historic grade II listed building near Westminster Abbey. It was once a library and evidently a striking one. Many original features have been retained, giving this unique restaurant a calming and timeless ambiance. Now Cinnamon Club is hosting wine evenings….

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Champagne – a brief encounter – drinks review

Champagne – a brief encounter – drinks review

One is spoilt for restaurants in London. Highend Michelin-starred, white-tableclothed establishments abound. The weather becomes warmer. We dream of those balmy days and longer evenings with friends. The picture might include floral frocks, a bowl of salad, a platter of salmon and, of course, a bottle of champagne. It is, for those gatherings, the dot…

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Southern Oregon – sleep and eat in style – travel review

Southern Oregon – sleep and eat in style – travel review

The average British tourist heading for the US on vacation will likely have limited horizons. There is the Big Apple with the draw of bright lights and a nice bit of shopping. Stores are full of good-quality goods and they are affordable due to advantageous exchange rates. Florida has long been a magnet for sun-starved…

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Discover Japanese Sake with Discovery Channel – travel review

Discover Japanese Sake with Discovery Channel – travel review

We are invited to ‘Travel with Sam to Japan and uncover the secrets of sake’. But the first questions are likely to be ‘Who is Sam?’ … and ‘What is sake?’ …and Discovery Channel? Sam Harrop, Master of Wine, is a leading consultant winemaker with clients all over Europe. He is also co-chair of the…

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Koichi Saura – Samurai for Sake – interview

Koichi Saura – Samurai for Sake – interview

We, at least in London, are becoming more familiar with Japan’s iconic national beverage. We are tempted to take our first sips in the increasingly numerous Japanese restaurants in the capital. Sake is new to us but it’s been around for a couple of thousand years in some form or other, and there are families…

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Toshie Hiraide, Sake Samurai Japan – interview

Toshie Hiraide, Sake Samurai Japan – interview

Japan has many icons. Sumo, sushi, kimonos are among the first that spring to the non-Japanese mind …along with sake! Japanese food and sake are becoming more common all over the world and London has a growing list of good restaurants serving sake to an increasingly knowledgeable audience. Toshie Hiraide is the Japanese Sake Samurai…

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Sake in London? It’s an education – drinks review

Sake in London? It’s an education – drinks review

Half a decade ago one could find Japanese Sake in London. Yes, of course one could. The ordering of such a beverage would usually elicit a three-word response from the server – those three little words that will likely turn any native Japanese to despair. The short question directed back to the curious prospective drinker…

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Winter Cocktails by Maria del Mar Sacasa – review

Winter Cocktails by Maria del Mar Sacasa – review

Cocktails! We tend to have a vision of summer evenings, flowery dresses, sipping colourful libations in some place exotic. But for those of us who live far from the equator those days of balmy bliss only happen by during our short summer months, and even then there are no guarantees! But we still crave mixed…

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The Saké Handbook by John Gauntner – review

The Saké Handbook by John Gauntner – review

Saké has become more popular than ever in both restaurants and bars. One can find good quality saké by the bottle and made into cocktails, but there are surprisingly few books in English on the subject of saké and its production. John Gauntner is considered an authority and has penned The Saké Handbook which is…

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